Healings of Jesus of Nazareth
Dr. Samuel Pagán
April 15, 2021
As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region.
While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.
Matthew 9:27-32 (NIV)
Healing, theology, and Kingdom
The healings performed by Jesus of Nazareth were a continuation of the theological message and transforming teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven. That singular and novel lesson of redemption, liberation, and hope that is presented in the Sermon upon the Mountain and is highlighted in the Beatitudes (Mt 5.1—7.29), incorporates with intention and emphasis the world of portents and the realms of the supernatural. The narratives of the lessons and activities of the Lord based on the canonical gospels include his miraculous actions of healing sick people, freeing spiritual and emotional captives, resurrecting the dead, and predictions about nature.
From the theological perspective, the Kingdom of Heaven was the answer to ancient divine promises made to the people of Israel. From the practical perspective, the values of the Kingdom respond to concrete needs of the people, specially of the most hurt, marginalized, and anguished communities such as poor, sickly, and spiritually captive people.
For Jesus of Nazareth the good news of the Kingdom had immediate and freeing implications for the people; furthermore, the preaching of the gospel encourages an environment of integral health, physical, spiritual, and social well-being, and of peace and solace that were certainly founded on the revelation of the Divine will and the implementation of the Kingdom of Heaven and its justice. The Lord’s message arrived strong to the ancient cities of Nazareth, Capharnaum, and Jerusalem; it interrupted as an agent of kindness, mercy, and transformation, that was lived not just in physical health, but also in emotional, spiritual, familiar, social, economic, and political well-being. And amid of all these prophetic and educational dynamics, the miracles and healings play an important, singular, and central role.
The Lord’s message arrived strong to the ancient cities of Nazareth, Capharnaum, and Jerusalem; it interrupted as an agent of kindness, mercy, and transformation, that was lived not just in physical health, but also in emotional, spiritual, familiar, social, economic, and political well-being.
Health, well-being, and theology
Ancient comprehension of health understood that God was found at the origin of both sickness and health. Effectively, from the perspective of Scripture, the biblical God is the Lord of life and death, and diseases are seen in regard to the Divine. That basic understanding moved people to relate physical and emotional well-being to God’s blessing. They believed that diseases and spiritual captives were signs of the clear Divine judgment or abandonment of God.
In biblical times, the Israelites believed people enjoyed healthy and prosperous lives because they had God’s blessing. They also believed that physical, mental, and spiritual illnesses were signs of Divine judgment and rejection. It was a spiritually complicated world, because diseases were related to infidelities or sins that may be either public or private, which needed to receive the judgement and punishment of the Lord. Additionally, they believed sins and their nefarious consequences could pass from generation to generation and from parents to children.
Blind people, paralytic, maimed, lepers, lunatics or possessed, or spiritual or emotionally sick people in those societies would not only have to bear the burden of their physical deformities and emotional torments, but also suffered a sense of guilt, pain, and frustration. They believed they were living under a divine curse. That sector of society suffered a kind of triple marginalization and anguish: they felt the symptoms and physical ailments, perceived the social rejection because of their conditions, and lived the spiritual anguish of being rejected by God.
Healings, teachings, and liberation
That was an ideal environment for the healings to accomplish a double goal. They liberated the sick person of their physical or emotional ailment, and it freed them from the martyrdom associated with their condition. Also, the healing was a spiritual and theological liberation because healed and liberated people went from the world of the curse to the gratifying dynamics of the world of God’s blessings. They moved providentially from the nefarious spiritual curses to the lovely and liberated environments of Divine mercy.
That theology of healing which is affirmed with clarity in the declaration of the Book of Psalms (Psalms 103.1-3), is clearly manifested in the poetry of Isaiah (33.21-24, NIV). The prophet states with certainty the day will come, when by the grace of God, diseases will no longer manifest on the people:
The LORD will be our Mighty One. He will be like a wide river of protection that no enemy can cross, that no enemy ship can sail upon.
For the LORD is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will save us.
The enemies’ sails hang loose on broken masts with useless tackle. Their treasure will be divided by the people of God. Even the lame will take their share!
The people of Israel will no longer say, “We are sick and helpless,” for the LORD will forgive their sins.